22nd June, 2021
By Taiwo Okanlawon
European Union Court of Justice has ruled that Google’s video-sharing site, YouTube, and other e-platforms are conditionally not liable for users uploading unauthorised works.
According to Reuters, the video-sharing platform was on Tuesday handed victory in a ruling by Europe’s top court over breaches of the EU copyright rules.
The court held that e-platforms can’t be held responsible unless they failed to quickly block access to the content.
The case marked the latest development in a protracted battle between Europe’s $1 trillion creative industry and the online platforms, where the former had been seeking recompense for unauthorised works that are uploaded.
Frank Peterson, a music producer, had sued the company and Google in Germany over the uploading to YouTube by users in 2008 of several phonograms to which he holds the rights.
EU’s judgment also covered the case Elsevier, a publishing group, brought against the file-hosting service Cyando. In both cases, the complainants said the platforms held the rights over the content that was made available online by users.
The ECJ, however, ruled that YouTube and other platforms could still be held liable if it “has specific knowledge that protected content is available illegally on its platform and refrains from expeditiously deleting it or blocking access to it.”
“As currently stands, operators of online platforms don’t, in principle, themselves make a communication to the public of copyright-protected content illegally posted online by users of those platforms,” EU’s court of justice said.
“However, those operators do make such a communication in breach of copyright where they contribute, beyond merely making those platforms available, to giving access to such content to the public.”
The development is a win for content-sharing sites, which have long been battling with artists over how to compensate them fairly for work that gets distributed on the site.